A Northeast Philadelphia couple on Monday recounted the terror of being held hostage inside their rowhouse for three days in February, when a crew of armed men threatened and beat them and forced them to drain their bank accounts.
During a preliminary hearing for two men charged in the crime, Henry Tran testified that he was getting into his car to head to work on the morning of Feb. 4 when a car pulled up and three men with guns jumped out.
Tran, 44, said he thought he was being carjacked. “You can have my car,” he said he told them. “Just let me go.”
Speaking mostly in Vietnamese translated through an interpreter, Tran said what followed was a harrowing days-long episode in which he, his wife, their infant son, and two others were held captive at gunpoint in the basement of their Holmesburg home. He said the men ransacked the home, on the 4600 block of Decatur Street, to find and steal jewelry and gold bars.
They hogtied Tran and beat and burned him to coerce him into providing his banking information, he said. On the witness stand, he pulled down his mask to show scarring on his cheek and forehead where he said the men burned him with a hot iron.
He said the men pistol-whipped and tortured him and his family, then drove him to various banks and stores to ultimately steal at least $100,000. His assailants handcuffed him and put a hood over his face, Tran said, as they drove him to banks and stores at gunpoint.
They used banking apps like Zelle and CashApp to wire more funds, Tran said, and forced him to call and instruct the bank to wire $25,000 to one of their accounts. He said they also used his credit cards to order personal items from Amazon and Target, including a television and baby diapers. At, one point, they tried to force Tran, who has a gun license, to buy them three guns, he said, but the store was closed. By the end of the weekend, Tran said, the men had drained all four of his bank accounts, both personal and business. He hasn’t been able to get most of it back, he said.
When Tran’s 68-year-old father came by the house, he said the men also took him into the basement, hogtied him, and beat him for his banking information. When his father couldn’t remember it, Tran said through tears, they strangled and held the 10-month-old baby upside down to try to force the elder Tran to give it up. When a friend stopped by to check on the family, Tran said, she was also held hostage.
Finally, after nearly 55 hours, Tran said the men wiped his car down with bleach and released him.
Anthony Clark, 52, and George Pollydore, 28, have been charged with kidnapping, burglary, aggravated assault, trespassing, strangulation, and related crimes. Although at least two others took part in the crimes, according to Tran, no one else has been charged in the case so far.
Tran said the men wore masks covering their faces throughout the weekend. Asked to identify Clark and Pollydore in court, he could not.
Common Pleas Court Judge Vincent W. Furlong did not make a decision Monday on whether to hold the case for trial because more witnesses, including detectives and police officers, are expected to testify when the hearing continues in May.
Clark’s lawyer, public defender Austin Brunson, declined to comment.
Pollydore’s lawyer, Eugene P. Tinari, said no witnesses have identified his client, and he said he does not know what, if any, evidence links Pollydore to the crime.
“We are confident that at the end of this preliminary hearing, there will not be enough evidence to tie Mr. Pollydore to this robbery,” Tinari said.